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November 27, 2014

Homework Help: crit thinking

Posted by guzy on Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 8:50pm.

Identify any areas that are vague or ambiguous. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

Identify and name any rhetorical devices used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

Author Jeff Lindsay is no fan of horror novels, preferring biographies and historical fiction. He doesn't like scary movies and doesn't watch much TV except for the occasional episode of Dora the Explorer with his 4-year-old.

But on Sunday nights, he's tuning in to Dexter on CBS.

Dexter is based on Lindsay's novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter about a nocturnal serial killer named Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall). By day, Dexter works as a blood-spatter expert for the Miami police.

CBS picked up Dexter, a Showtime series, during the writers' strike. It has prompted some protests saying that a show that portrays a serial killer as likable -- even if he kills only bad guys -- has no place on broadcast TV.

What does Lindsay think of Dexter naysayers, including the television watchdog group objecting to its appearance on CBS?

"These are idiots who want to determine what we watch and don't watch," says Lindsay, who neither condemns nor defends Dexter's behavior. "I imagine that at the dark of the moon, they put on their brown shirts and go out goose-stepping."

House and CSI, Lindsay points out, are just as graphic as Dexter. CBS has had to edit out some of the adult language found in the Showtime series and in Lindsay's books. But, Lindsay says, "'motherlover' is a pretty funny substitute for certain other words."

Lindsay is thrilled with Dexter's transformation from page to screen. "I love Michael C. Hall. When I first heard him read from the script, I thought, 'He's it. He's perfect.'"

Lindsay came up with the idea for Darkly Dreaming Dexter while attending a civics group luncheon in his home state of Florida. "An idea just popped into my head that a serial killer isn't always a bad thing." By the time lunch was over, he had outlined most of the story on a napkin.

The TV series' first season, now being aired on CBS, was based on Lindsay's first Dexter novel. Showtime's recently concluded second season was not based on Lindsay's novels, nor will the third be.

The creative separation between the scripts and his novels allows Lindsay (who co-wrote four other novels published in the 1990s) to write without considering how his books might translate to TV. A character who died in Season 2 of Showtime's Dexter, for example, is still alive in the fourth Dexter book, which Lindsay is now writing. Says Lindsay: "I know what an adaptation means."

Writers for the series, says executive producer John Goldwyn, create their own stories but stick to the spirit of Lindsay's creation. "Jeff gave us an incredibly rich template for all the characters, most profoundly and specifically the character of Dexter. Jeff, with that book and with that character, has established the rules. By that I mean 'The code of Harry (Dexter's adoptive father),' a very important thing -- the idea that the kills are always righteous in their own way. That he does terrible things to even worse people. But also that kind of diffidence that lurks in his heart -- 'Am I good? Am I bad? Can I have feelings, or do I not feel? I don't believe I feel?' -- and yet in many ways he behaves very empathetically."

And as more TV viewers get to know Dexter, the popularity of the books may grow, too. The CBS broadcast premiere on Feb. 17 averaged 8.2 million viewers, roughly eight times more than the pay-cable Showtime audience. (Last Sunday's CBS viewership was 6.9 million.)

Lindsay, 55, who lives in South Florida, has been married for 20 years to writer Hilary Hemingway. Her father was Leicester Hemingway, Ernest's younger brother. Lindsay and Hilary knew each other as children, when their families took sailing vacations together. Their three daughters are 18, 12 and 4.

But Dexter is the man in his life. "I plan to keep writing about Dexter until someone tells me to knock it off."

---

The Dexter chronicles

Dexter Morgan has now starred in three novels by Jeff Lindsay. There are 569,000 copies in print:

*Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004) Dexter is worried when a series of murders similar to his own rock Miami.

*Dearly Devoted Dexter (2005) Dexter tries to dodge suspicions about his secret life by appearing to have a normal life and a girlfriend.

*Dexter in the Dark (2007) Dexter must figure out why the Dark Passenger inside him, the thing that drives him to kill, abandons him.

(c) USA TODAY, 2008

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